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Center of the Universe

(Haibun)
 


 

by Cindy Tebo


 
 
 
Historically, people believed that the Earth was the center
of the universe. Out of all the stars, black holes, planets,
meteors, and cosmic dust, I'm not sure where we got this  idea. The odds are strongly against the Earth being the center of anything. It's more likely we are just a period in the middle of some rambling discourse that has no beginning or end.  Part of an astrological filibuster.
 
my street address
one small number
in the universe


Imagine if the postman had to deliver to all the galaxies. The charge for a letter alone would be astronomical. And those cookies from Grandma? You'd need a set of bionic teeth just to chew the chocolate chips after so many years out of the oven.
 

self-adhesive stamps
the next generation
not knowing the taste of glue


For many of us, the cost of fuel curtails our travel plans.
Rather than finding the center of the universe, we are stuck in the center of our yard.
 

downhill volleyball
   how did I end up
      on the wrong side of the net


Every now and then, I try to expand my horizons. This notion usually occurs around payday or a full moon. (Beware when these events coincide.)

My vacation is only a few days. No extra time off for light-year travel. So I content myself with finding the center of the United States. Not the geographical center, but the population center. There's a spot on the map where the same amount of people live to the north, south, east, and west of a particular town.

Forget those people who had babies after that point was decided upon. The place is called Edgar Springs, and it's in Missouri. A mere two-hour drive away from me. How could I not go?

Edgar Springs:  population 190 (not counting the goats)

Yes, goats outnumber the people. For all I know, this town could be the goat capital of the universe.  

When I saw the first goat, I thought it was a dog. But the 
horns were a dead giveaway. That, and the fact he didn't bark when I approached him.
 

horses, goats, and dogs
I talk to them all
while swatting flies


According to local legend, Edgar Springs was named after
one of its residents. The spring did not refer to water, however. It was the jig one performed after drinking Edgar's home brew. Seems he had a thriving still before the Civil War broke out. No one remembers what happened after that.
 

whiskey town
a freshly painted fence
leans to one side


It was amazing to me that the population center of the US was so void of people. I did find a general store where I purchased a T-shirt and some root beer. No whiskey for me with a two-hour drive home. Even if it was Edgar Springs brew.
 

middle of nowhere
my son asks,
"Are we there, yet?"

Edgar Springs fame
a census bureau plaque
in the cemetery


Side Note:  To all you school kids out there -- this could be
                  a final jeopardy question so pay attention!

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